Translated by: Rwaida Matar
On 31st/03/2016 the general directorate for the Internal Security in Lebanon announced catching a group of people contains the most dangerous network for human trafficking in Lebanon, and could free 75 girls, most of them Syrians.
“I did not know that there is a polity in Lebanon.. Imad told me that he bought the government with his money, and I was sure of his words when I was detained in the General security jail, and released after 24 hours only without any problems”.
this is what Sally said on Tuesday 29/03/2016.
Sally is a nickname for one of the 75 girls was free from a huge network working in human trafficking holding and stationed in in Lebanon for more than ten years, its work starts from Tripoli, extends to Jonieh and Jubail then Dahr al-Baydar.
a call from a van driver in al-Dahia area pushed the investigations brigade in Mount Lebanon to move and discover this network led by, who called “M.J” the holder of “chez Maurice” and “Silver” square in Jounieh, assisted by “A.R” and “A.H’ who are still fugitives from the injustice.
this network lures the Syrian girls through a studied plan to make them fall in a trap then imprisons them as salves and traffics them into slavery.
This operation happened through two stages, first was on 27/03/2016 when the security forces attacked the basements of “chez Maurice” and “Silver” and free a part of the girls who were tortured and enslaved, and the second was on 29/03/ 2016 when the forces attacked apartments and chalets in Jonieh, one of the suspects was hired them to detain other 29 girls, some of the gang members were caught while the searching for the others is still continuing.
Some girls don’t know the streets since 5 years, some of them haven’t seen the sunlight for more than 3 years, they know only how to ride the car to reach the doctor clinic for the abortion, which costs some of them their lives.
on the date 31/03/2016 the authorities could know the doctor who was doing the abortion (Lebanese), and the nurse who was helping and assisting him (Lebanese) also.
during the investigations the doctor admitted that he did 200 abortion. and the investigations are going on.
free girls wanted from their declaration to catch the attention of other girls not to fall victims for such networks.
They were forced for prostitution and they were beaten and whipped regularly until it left a marks on their skin.
in some of investigations offices there were found a big stick, a whip, and a notebook written in it the nicknames for the girls with signs detailing the number of times that the whip was made and the reasons, “ten whips for not putting nail polish”, “50 whips because she didn’t take tips from the customer”.
Girls didn’t receive any money for their work, the work time starts at 03:00 pm. and finishes the next day 06:00 am.
The guards ( who are women none of the customers desires them anymore, so they are upgraded to this position to supervise girls) determine the share of the whips for each girl.
Girl can sleep in the morning after she gets her share of whipping, and if she fell unconscious, the electricity stick can do the job to make her wake up, then she has to jump in the water to remove the marks from the skin which may the customer doesn’t like to see.
It is worthy to say that the period didn’t execute them, but they were forced to put cotton inside their vagina, other than their depriving from taking a sick leave after any operation.
it was not allowed for any of them to speak a word under the penalty of loosing her tongue as happened with one of them, or loosing her life where they burry her in unknown place.
One of the girls said that a girl died and they buried her in the “chez Maurice” basements, however we couldn’t verify this incident which received from many women.
The girls’ age is between sixteen and twenty seven from different religions, some of them Sunnis, others are Shiia’at, Alawis, and Durzis.
Through the questions we raised for some girls we could know that, before they choose the girl they focus on the social situation of her, if they are married or divorced, although the virginity is not an obstacle for manipulation,
Girls told about a victim called “Rose” her aunt lured her to come to Lebanon and gave her to one of the gang, who broke her virginity, and trained her how to work.
many declared that this man sleep with them once they arrive, “he tries us, to make sure if we meet the required features, body smell, breast size, and other things that make each of us feel humiliated and despises herself and her body”, one of the women said.
She added “Then, as in the slave market, we stand in the “chez Maurice” lounge or the “Silver” and customer enters and looks at the girls, to choose one, and then he goes with her into the room”.
Sally has 27 years in Lebanon, during two years an a half couldn’t see the sunlight, she is one of the girls who tried to escape and expose the issue.
“I came to Lebanon after I lost my family in the war, I knew “A” in a party, I trusted that he was Syrian,like me, and said that he wants to help me, after many meetings, he accompanied me to “chez Maurice” to work there, promising with marriage later.
He forced me to wear scandalous wears, when I refused he beat me, and when I wanted to leave he whipped me on my feet not to show the marks for the customers. Some times we were asked about the marks and we say we fell on the stairs”.
Sally told her recent experience that led to detect the network, saying: “We decided to escape, I and eight other girls, but we thought that if we went to the public security, we would be discovered, so, We decided to go to Hezbollah.
We thought that the party will protect us because we support the Syrian regime. There was a back door of “chez Maurice”, we watched the guards where they put the key and we have stolen it, but during the escape, three of us were caught, and five managed to escape.
when I was arrested, “A” tied me to the bed and whipped me, but not too much, because on Saturday we have a lot of work, but he promised me that he will complete beating me on Monday, Sunday we got the attack from the security forces”.
It must be pointed to the Quantum leap in the dealing of “Mount Lebanon investigations” with this issue, and to considering the girls a victim of human trafficking, searching for ways to ensure their protection, not to be transferred to prison on charges of “prostitution.”
On the other hand, this issue has opened the doors of the questions on public security, and the authorities concerned today in front of public opinion to clarify and explain how to release of a network was arrested on charges of manner abuse within 24 hours, and on what basis?.
After that, the issue will not end with these girls before the clarifying of all circumstances about girls were murdered, and others amputated mutilation, and catching the criminals behind bars, to drop off their comeuppance, that this is the network which has been exposed is not the first and will not be the last, but there are dozens of them and that need concerted efforts from stakeholders to uncover and the liberate girls from the yoke of human trafficking.